Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tip Tuesday! Bobbin Info

"Tip Tuesday!" - Bobbin Info

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
************************************************
Last week I started a discussion about bobbins, so this week I want to provide a bit more information about bobbins and how they work. 

I know many quilters who don't really care how their machines work. They just want them to work. I understand that, but I think it is important for all of us to have a basic understanding about the actual mechanics of a sewing machine, just in case we are sewing late at night and run into a problem. With a little bit of knowledge, we can do some trouble shooting and hopefully avoid an expensive trip the repair shop. (It's just like a car, but our machines are more fun.)

Here's a diagram that shows how the bobbin works. I know it's blurry, but hopefully you can read it.


Just in case you couldn't read the captions in the picture above, here's another sketch.


Although this sketch is well done, I'm a visual person and need to "see it in action" to completely understand.

Check out this video by Superior Threads about bobbins. It's well done and explains a lot. I especially appreciate the information about cleaning out the bobbin case.


An finally, you can adjust the tension of your bobbin, even though I know were told told to NEVER mess with the tension of a sewing machine.

The following information was provided by Superior Threads.

90% of the time, we adjust the top tension to achieve the perfect stitch.

We talk a lot about tension settings and tension adjustments on machines. This time, we will discuss the other 10%, the bobbin tension. Many have been told to never touch the bobbin tension. It isn't as difficult as we have been led to believe. If you are one who has been told to never touch it, by the end of this page, hopefully you will realize that is perfectly safe and easy to adjust the bobbin case. Of course you could buy a second bobbin case, one to never adjust and the other to experiment with, but why not save $30 to $40 and learn how easy and safe it really is. Over time, tensions can change with regular use. Even though you haven't physically changed the settings, they can work themselves either tighter or looser. Thread, lint, and even temperature can affect them. There are three times when adjusting the bobbin tension might be necessary. Number one and two are obvious. Number three is the "I never thought of that before" alternative. 
    1. When using a very smooth, fine bobbin thread. If the thread is very smooth and fine, the preset setting may not apply the necessary brakes to stop it when you stop sewing. In this case, the bobbin thread continues to unwind, potentially causing backlash, and upon start up again, the thread will break. Tightening the tension will fix this.  
       
    2. When using a very heavy bobbin thread. The preset tension might be too tight for a heavy thread, preventing the bobbin thread from unwinding freely. Loosening the bobbin tension will solve this. (Be sure to turn the tension screw in small increments whether you are tightening or loosening the screw.)
       
    3. Q: "There are times when the bobbin adjustment is correct but no matter what I do to the top tension, I still can't get a perfect stitch or the thread breaks. When I loosen the top tension adequately low to run a sensitive or heavier thread, I get loops on the back. When I tighten up the top tension to get rid of the looping, the thread breaks."
      A: Looping on the back means the top tension is too loose compared to the bobbin tension so the bobbin thread is pulling too much top thread underneath. By tightening the top tension, the loops will stop, but the added tension may cause breakage, especially with sensitive threads. In this case, it might be necessary to loosen both the bobbin tension AND the upper tension. By loosening both the top and bobbin tensions, both sides of the tug-of-war give in, allowing a good stitch without breaking or looping.



Here's an interesting video by Bob Purcell of Superior Threads


Have a great week and don't be afraid to adjust your bobbin. It just might solve some of those illusive problems you've been having.  :-)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Design Wall Monday

I'm working on some samples for M & E Quilt Shoppe. Here are the four panels for the Midi Bag.



The 2 1/2" squares are pressed on to the interfacing and I'll start sewing them in just a little while. I used a jelly roll called Perfectly Seasoned by Sandy Gervais for Moda. It's beautiful fabric!

The Midi Bag is a smaller version of the Mondo Bag. Do you remember when I posted about making them? Click HERE to see my first Mondo Bag. I've made four or five more but don't think I have pictures of them. Mmmmmmm, how did that happen? You can see pictures of Mondo Bags, and Strippety Do Dah Quilt (the quilt that I teach along with the bag) that a number of students have made. HERE.

I've got other projects going on as well, but no pictures to show. :-(

What are you working on today?

Check out 

to see what other quilters have on their design walls today.

I'm also linking up to Monday Making

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Strippy Quilt is Done!

I've had this top done for quite a while but I finally quilted and bound it. 

While trying to do some organization in my sewing area, I needed to find a way to use up a number of 2 1/2" strips that I had left over from a variety of projects. This is the result.


Jack was never thrilled with the look of this quilt and I have to admit that it isn't my favorite either. But, I used stash and that makes me very happy. Plus I got to practice some more quilting.

I laid it out on the floor so I could get things ready to take it outside to get pictures but I got distracted and it stayed there until the next morning. 

After breakfast, Jack went to the back room before I did, and as he passed the quilt on the floor he said, "Hey, I like how this is quilted and it makes me like the quilt better."  Hahahahaha!


Maybe I'll give this to him as a late anniversary quilt.  :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tip Tuesday! Bobbins

"Tip Tuesday!" - Bobbins

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
************************************************


Do you have a bunch of bobbins that look like these? They are only partially filled and there is too much thread on them to throw away, but just enough to make it a pain to start sewing with them because you know you're going to run out real soon after starting. 

I can't tell you how many times I've had students tell me that they hate changing bobbins and would love it if there machine had a bobbin auto-refill. I have to admit that I used to feel the same way. 

At the end of last year, I read a blog post written by Susan Favro of SewMuchSmarter,com and I have to say that she makes some interesting and logical points about the value of having a bobbin that needs refilled. 

Here's what Susan has to say... 

Why I love having a bobbin ...


Lots of quilters dream about the day when we no longer have to fill and re-fill bobbins. When/if that day arrives, we can just quilt and quilt with never a thought to having to re-fill a bobbin.

Well, I got to thinking about why I like having to stop to change bobbins. Here are the reasons I came up with:
  • First, it gets me to take a break. It's good for the creative spirit to sometimes take a step back to get refreshed. It's also good for our eyes, back, etc. to stretch a bit and change positions.

  • Second, it gives me a timer of sorts for when I should be cleaning and oiling my machine (quilting machine or sewing machine). It's a quick and easy thing to clean out the bobbin area and get some oil to my hard-working machines.

  • Third -- When I use my serger it is nice to be able to sew and sew with nary of thought of my bobbin running out. But then again - that thread path! Sure I can tie off my threads and pull them through but on occasion that doesn't quite work out and then I have to re-thread all the cones. It's moments like that when I'd be glad to be able to just quickly pop in a bobbin and get back to sewing/quilting.
Trade offs. I guess it's all trade offs.

Until my next post: Quilt like you mean it!

What do you think? She makes some good points, doesn't she? 

And since we've started the conversation about bobbins, next week's Tip Tuesday! will include some important information on bobbins that we all should know. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Finishes!

This table runner is done and already at M & E Quilt Shoppe. It's made using the Zig Zag Table Runner by Cluck Cluck Sew.  It was quick and fun to make!


Now I didn't do this, but it's done and I love it!


My pressing station has a new covering, and it's even cleaned off. My sister Ann did the covering and if you read yesterday's post, you'll know that you couldn't tell that it had been done. But, it's all cleared off and ready for it's next pressing adventure.  :-)  Thanks, Ann!

And just because I think they're funny, I have to share a couple of things with two of my granddaughters. 

Sadie is a girly girl and she loves to dress up and play princess.


Now I know she looks cute, but that's not what I really want to share. The crown was a little too large and it kept falling down and she asked me in a very serious voice, "Grandma, what do you do to keep your crown from falling into your eyes?"


Seriously? Has she been hiding and watching me wear that crown when I thought I was alone?  hehehehe

And finally, Quinn saw some fabric and said she thought it was beautiful and wanted to audition it on the design wall. It was such a proud Grandma moment for a seven year old to ask about auditioning fabric, that I naturally said yes.


And then she started singing and Sadie joined here in front of the fabric. They were giggling and singing and having so much fun.



After about ten minutes, Quinn stopped and said, "So Grandma. What do you think?" I told them they looked like they were having fun and that I'm sure we could find something to make with that fabric. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "Please don't use that fabric yet. It's a great back stop for us to practice auditioning for a singing talent show." 

Oh dear! A back stop! And they weren't auditioning the fabric at all. THEY were auditioning. And who knows what singing talent show they were talking about. 

Do you think that perhaps I have a one track mind - quilting?!?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Special Messages in Odd Places

I always try to find the positive in absolutely everything that happens, and sometimes that is much more challenging to do than I care to admit. Nevertheless, I continue to try.  :-)

So, imagine my delight when I opened up one of these little chocolates to find a perfectly timed message for me.



I can totally follow this advice and it makes me feel so much better after having been caught in a downpour this afternoon.


And since I was feeling so good about the advice I got from the first piece of chocolate, I decided to have another one. (I really don't crave chocolate often, but when I do, I want a bunch of it.) The second piece was also a stall tactic for what I really needed to do - clean my sewing room. 

I had my sewing room fairly cleaned and organized when I had to set aside the couple of projects on which I was working to deal with something that needed immediate attention. What a mess! I can't wait until I can get back to these piles and take care of them.


But wait! I reached for another chocolate and when I read the message, I laughed out loud. I guess it's okay if my sewing area is a mess right now. This is like a Chinese fortune. You don't mess with the message because it's always true.  :-)


I guess I'm not going to worry about the mess right now. Maybe I'll have another chocolate and it'll tell me how to deal with all of my UFOs. 
It's worth a try. Want to join me?  :-)


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tip Tuesday! - Scissor Care

"Tip Tuesday!" - Scissor Care

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!
************************************************

How many pairs of scissors does one person really need? Sadly, this isn't all of the scissors that I own, but these are the ones that I use most often. How many do you own? 

Now, the bigger question is how well you take care of your scissors. I admit that I don't care for mine nearly as well as I should. As a matter of fact, while using the pair second from the left, I realized that they, along with a few others, need to go to the "Scissor Spa" to be sharpened, cleaned, oiled, etc. They'll be on their way within the next day or so and I am positive that we will all be much happier upon their return.  :-)

So, what can we do to take better care of our scissors? Probably first and foremost is to use the scissors properly and for the tasks for which they are intended. 

It really is a good idea (Yes, I understand it can be costly.), to have a separate pair of scissors for fabric only. You and your scissors will be much happier! And if you are going to have two pairs, clearly mark them so there is no mistaking paper vs. fabric. We really do want to avoid confusion. 

"don't touch the fabric scissors"


Gingher has provided some very useful information HERE about Maintaining your Gingher Scissors and these pointers are not exclusive to their scissors.

Haley Pierson-Cox over at The Zen of Crafting shares some information on Crafting 101: How to Clean and Oil Your Scissors if you want to do it DIY style.

Remember, to do the best work we can requires that we have quality, well-taken care of tools. You and your projects deserve that!